Stage 7: Castres – Perpignan. Lost.

By August 8, 2016Lifestyle

I’m writing this as Ma and Pa are inching their way to their hotel. They became stranded on the wrong side of the D914 about an hour ago and have been trying desperately to find a route across since. They were a tantalizing half a mile from their bed for the night. They called me in despair just as I was tucking into my chicken dinner.

Poor Mum and Dad! They sound delirious, they’re not making any sense and, to make matters worse, I sent them the wrong way for 5 mins – I spat out my mouthful of chicken when I realised what I’d done and called them back pronto. Ooopsie! (That will be an extra pint on me when you arrive tomorrow folks!)

I am now starting at the phone and waiting for it to ring for an update on their progress. I just hope the bridge is where the map says it is!

The phone silence is killing me! For the first time I am empathizing with how my Mum and Dad must have felt when I decided to cycle to Spain and only sent them the odd text every few days to let them know I was alive. One thousand apologies!

Today was a toughie.

At 16:02 a text came through:

Dad: Really struggling in the heat, knees hurting, wind blowing. At Buguarach resting. At least 80 km to go.

I asked them if they thought they would make it to Perpignan. The answer came at 17:40:

Dad: Hopefully

Never has ‘hopefully’ sounded so hopeless!

By 19:02 positivity was making a comeback:

Mum: Just got through Estates so getting there! Lots of fast downhills! X xx

NEWS JUST IN!! They made it!!! I am so relieved! It’s 21:45, Mum was wearing her hi-viz winter coat in 28 degree heat because they had to spend the last hour riding in the pitch black. Mum sounded so triumphant. Yet again, they have no food – I let her go off the phone to check in and sort out the essentials.

In a 2 minute catch-up she told me about the absolutely stunning scenery and had a good moan about roads that don’t allow bikes, the lack of alternative routes for bikes, and she had a good moan about there never being any shops open in France at epic-tandem-touring dinner time. Phew! But at least they made it.

Dad called at 22:00. There’s still no food. Just Eat don’t even deliver where Mum and Dad are. On the the plus side the hotel does have beer, which they are drinking.

Dad told me about how they nearly got run off the road today – there was a white van acting strangely and driving very close as Mum and Dad were plodding up a Col. The driver started shouting out the window at them but they had no clue what he was saying. Eventually they came to a stop, reasonably bemused and scared for their lives… The driver kept shouting and gesturing… Eventually it clicked – he was asking for loo roll! Luckily they were well prepared (unlike their food planning!) and had some they were able to give him and one desperate driver was saved from a terrible col-side situation.

All in all I think they’re quite glad their last +200 km day is over. Tomorrow all they have to do is cross the border into Catalunya and roll down the pyrenees to Girona. Lee & I are riding out to meet them and I cannot wait for the moment when I spot a tandem coming in the opposite direction.

Allez allez allez!!

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